Ducati Monsters Problems: 3 Known Issues (Explained)

The Ducati Monster is an iconic machine entrenched deeply in motorcycle lore.

First released in 1993, it remains one of the highest-selling motorcycle models worldwide. Ducati Monsters are loved for their smooth performance, sporty handling, and simple-yet-elegant design.

However, reliability issues have marred the popularity of the Ducati Monsters over the years.

Before buying a Monster motorcycle, it is vital to research the problems associated with the model.

This way, you can prepare for any issues that may affect your bike’s performance.

After extensive research, we discovered the following issues to be common to Ducati Monster motorcycles:

1. Rear Brake Problems

Rear brakes account for up to 30% braking power on any given bike.

When you’re going fast on two wheels, all must be at peak performance. One complaint from Ducati Monster 821 owners is that the rear brakes are difficult to bleed after sitting for a period of time. 

It’s not uncommon for motorcycles, especially sitting ones, to develop an air bubble within brake lines, causing a hindrance in brake performance.

When it comes to the Ducati Monster 821, this is very common, but there might be more to it than just sitting air.

Some issues reported are:

Loss of Rear Brake Pressure 

Air bubbles are compressible and often expand to form larger bubbles.

With time, the air bubbles will reduce the braking system’s hydraulic pressure, causing loss of brake power.

Similarly, moisture in the brake fluid can cause brake pedals to feel spongy when depressed. Like air, moisture seeps into the braking system over time.

Moisture build-up will reduce the boiling point of the brake fluid and cause it to boil faster. Small gaseous (air) bubbles are created, and the brakes start to feel spongy when you press them.

Brakes Hard To Bleed 

An advanced rider would know that spongy brakes mean there’s an air bubble in the line that needs to be bled out.

However, many owners and even technicians have had difficulty properly bleeding the lines. 

As you run fresh brake fluid through the lines in a normal bleeding procedure, you also need to apply pressure to the rear brake pedal to build pressure. This is how you flush out the air bubble or excess moisture.

However, this isn’t done so easily on the Monster 821. 

Possible Causes and Solution

As stated above, bleeding the brakes is the most common solution for air and moisture in brake lines.

For most bikes, this is usually a simple task that most novice of mechanics can fix. However, what can be attributed to a design flaw in the Monster 821, prevents this process from being a simple fix. 

The Monster 821 rear calipers are set at a unique angle that does not allow for effective bleeding and can keep air trapped in the lines.

To fix this problem, technicians have found it best to remove the rear caliper and raise it to be at a more efficient angle for bleeding. 

Front Brakes Pulsate

Users report feeling a strange sensation when the brakes are applied.

The brakes give off a pulsating sensation as if the lever moves in and out on its own.

According to riders, this problem occurs only during low-speed braking; high-speed braking is still smooth and unaffected.

Other users describe the sensation as a groan or shudder, adding that it makes braking at low speeds uneven and uncomfortable.

You can easily check on our article on How Long do Ducati Monsters Last?

Possible Causes and Solutions

Likely causes for the pulsating brake problem are warped rotors and tire imbalance.

Tire imbalance is usually the last thing people consider when their brakes pulsate, even if it is the easiest to diagnose and fix. If the air pressure in the front tires is low, you will experience a brake shudder while riding.

Repair shops can quickly test your tires to check for any imbalance and fix the issue. Cleaning the brake pads and rotors with an old-fashioned Scotch-Brite pad and brake cleaner liquid may also solve it.

The buildup of material on the surfaces of the rotors and pads can cause the brake system to malfunction.

Therefore, before taking your bike to the repairs shop, clean the rotors and pads.

2. Gears Do Not Shift

There are multiple complaints from Monster owners regarding problems in shifting between gears.

The problem comes in numerous guises, and users have reported different issues.

Sometimes, the transmission is stuck in one gear for short periods. The transmission refuses to go into another gear even though users press the gearshift lever. Some users also find it challenging to downshift (i.e., move into a lower gear) but can upshift with ease. Conversely, other users find it challenging to upshift (i.e., move into a higher gear) but can downshift adequately.

Other problems include false neutrals between gears, delayed engagement, and missed shifts.

False neutrals refer to a situation where the transmission pops out of gear while the user tries to shift between gears. During this time, the motorcycle acts like one in neutral and decelerates rapidly. False neutrals can be dangerous as they can cause motorcycles to lose speed rapidly while traveling, putting riders at risk.

Delayed engagement occurs when users change gears, but the gears take time to engage. During this, the bike’s RPM will go up, but the tires will not move. Other times, the gear change process will be slow and rough instead of being quick and smooth.

Missed shifts happen when you switch gears, but the transmission does not go into the gear you selected. For example, you want to shift from the first gear to the third gear, but the transmission enters the fifth gear instead.

This can make riding very uncomfortable for anyone, which is why it is one of the top complaints from Monster owners.

Possible Causes and Solution

Most problems associated with gears are because of faulty gearbox components.

Gear dogs, gear drums, gearshift lever, gearshift fork – anyone of these could cause the problem. Only a visit to the repair shop will give you an idea of the component you need to replace.

3. Electrical Malfunction

Electrical issues are commonplace among Ducati Monsters.

In fact, they are the most recurrent issues with these motorcycles.

One of the most-reported electrical problems has to do with the battery system of the Monster. According to users, the battery drains rapidly after it is charged. In fact, the battery drains when the motorcycle is not in use.

Some users have reported they cannot start their motorcycles in the morning, even though they charged the battery the night before. This means the battery drained overnight.

Other owners report that their batteries do not charge even when connected to a power source. Also, the motorcycle has difficulties starting during cold weather.

This problem, known as a “cold start problem,” is an issue affecting Monster models.

Possible Causes and Solution

When a battery charges but then drains in a short amount of time, this could be caused by a parasitic draw.

Bikes with auxiliary lights, fuel management systems, or even a security system can drain the battery while the bike is not in use. 

To prevent parasitic draws and keep your battery in tip-top shape, invest in a battery tender. They’re easy to find and inexpensive. Battery tenders come with quick-connect attachments for the battery and can safely charge your battery without frying it.  

It is also important to know that many electrical components on the Ducati Monster are prone to corrosion and wear-and-tear. Faulty connectors, relays, regulators, rectifiers, and wiring looms are some components that wear rapidly on the motorcycle.

Whenever you notice any of these issues with your Ducati Monster, take the bike to an experienced mechanical inspection.

That way, the problem will not blow out of proportion and cause far more expensive repairs.

General Pros And Cons for Ducati Monsters

Pros

Excellent Handling: The Ducati Monster has sporty handling that gives you confidence even when cruising at high speeds. The handling is very responsive, and you can turn those tight corners with surprising agility.

Impressive Performance: Performance is one of the Monster’s strong points. The 2019 model uses Testastretta 11° L-Twin engines to produce over 63 lbs-ft of torque and 109 horsepower. For speed-hungry racers, the Monster motorcycle is a perfect choice.

Safety: Safety is a significant consideration for most motorcycle owners, and the Monster is big on this. For one, the Brembo brakes allow you to stop the motorcycles quickly and safely. Also, Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) and Traction Control give Monster motorcycles excellent safety records.

Cons

  • Brakes can malfunction repeatedly.
  • Electrical components are prone to faults.
  • The gear-shift process can be difficult.

What Do The Reviews Say?

“The Monster puts you in a unique riding position…The Monster is quick to turn but feels stable rather than tippy. Its wide handlebars offer the right amount of leverage to make threading the bike through corners a cinch without being so broad that lane splitting becomes a chore.”

[Source: Cnet.com]

“The [Monster] motor is more than enough. It’s manageable, easy to ride, yet has a turn of speed and handling that makes it fun too. Yes, it’s expensive new, yes there are a few little niggles with it, but overall it’s an excellent bike.”

[Source: Motorcyclenews.com]

What Is The Resale Value Of The Ducati Monster?

Year Mileage (Miles) Price ($)
2001 19,555 3,495
2005 24,995 2,995
2007 19,450 3,885
2009 11,522 5,499
2010 15,000 3,995
2012 10,312 4,199
2014 14,928 6,985
2016 2,013 13,995
2017 4,979 13,500
2018 1,767 17,495

References:

Motorcyclenews.com

Cnet.com

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